POETRY FOR THE JOURNEY

IN THE STORM


Be kind to yourself

when grief topples your boat

and scatters your oars

when your threads

of compassion

can’t  knit

a full shawl

of embrace.

Behold the pit

where your heart

has fallen

and wait.


Be kind to yourself

when hope

lies buried

under winter’s snow’s crust,

when hurt slices

and dices

your soul

and nothing

but breath

reminds you

that you still

are alive.


So breathe then.


Breathe

through neglect

and abuse,

through abandonment

and shame.

And the raw intention of presence

will hold you

while you,

in the vortex

of change,

learn to breathe

underwater.

                                               


CAN YOU?

                                                                                                       

                             Can you hear yourself living,                           

beneath the surface

of your mind’s chatter

and

the insubordinate longings of your heart?


Can you hear yourself living

in the midst

of life’s relentless noise

and frantic pace?


Can you hear life

                                               pulsing                                                 

beneath layers

of unquestioned existence,

like a river

flowing in the depths

beyond the past,

beyond the wounds,

beyond the darkness?

Can you hear life’s voice calling,

longing to meet you

in surrender and silence?


Can you hear yourself living

not for others

not through others,

not for recognition

nor glory

or fame?


Can you hear yourself living

through pain and sorrow,

when waves

of incomprehensible whispers

push you

into the fires

of transformation?


Can you hear yourself living

when your defences are up

and the fear

of your own nakedness

makes you reach

for clever words

or self-righteous blaming?


Can you hear yourself living?

Can you afford to?

                                           

                                                                     

THE BONES TRILOGY


KNOCKING AT MY BODY'S DOOR 

Is there space 

in there for me

between tendons and muscles,

between nerves and bones?

Is there space in there for me?

Is there space 

in there for me

between heart and lungs

between arteries and veins?

Is there space in there for me?

How could 

there space

be in there

for me

when,

starved for oxygen,

all organs

beg

as one:

Let us now rest

We are tired.

PLEASE.

Is there space in there for me?

Is there?


xxxxxxxxxx

WEN GHIBLI GOES

I am a heap 

of dry bones

flesh and tendons

burnt away

by WAVES

upon WAVES 

of relentless heat.

xxxxxxxxxxxx

TOUCHING THE BONES

A pile

of bones

lies

unseen

yet not forgotten

as gushing words

circle and swirl,

poking into ribs

and skull.

"Wake up.

The estranged flesh

of your youth

wants to clothe

your nakedness

and call you

back

from exile."

Rattling sounds

join the chorus

of the wind's song.


                                                      

 

A SPELL IS CAST


I was formed 

in my mother's 

WOMB

when the string

of grandmother's


WORDS

fused itself

into my 

DNA

like a surgeon's thread,

the bitterness of her 

GRIEF

shaping my unborn

LIFE

with the

SHAME

of love unrestrained;

poisoned daggers

plunged

into the fluid

nourishment

of silence,

coiling themselves

AROUND MY INNOCENCE

invisible 

CHAINS

holding the

SPELL

in place.

                                                     

ECHO-LESS

Is this Nothing,

and Nowhere,

and No One

the place

where 

YOU reside?

In the disappearance

of me,

in the dissolving

of my cells' humanity,

in the perfume

of my soul's ashes,

will your lips

curl up

and will your eyes

fill

with the promised joy

of our ultimate touching?

What more

do

YOU

want?

Is this Nothing,

and Nowhere,

and NO One

the space

I am called

to reside?

The world

spins and moves

yet

deeper

I go

into Nothing,

Nowhere,

No One.

Fists driven

into a wall

of liquid silence

no seeds sprouting

on the arid land

of my walking

no wind fanning

the heat in my flesh.

What more

do 

YOU

want?

                                             

THE HUSBAND/FATHER DANCE

From a lonely place I long for you, my darling.

I stretch towards you.… to touch you.…to hold you….

As soon as my hands find your skin you are no longer within reach

Your face becomes blurred, I can still see you but you no longer

are the man I know.


Captured  by a secret hand, hope sinks, whisked off behind the curtain dividing day and night.

A greater distance is now between us

Another time, another man.

I fear this space, I fear the face I struggle to recognize

I don’t want to look.

My eyes still search for the tenderness and the safety of your familiar gaze.

but this other presence jealously summons me.


I  turn my head, away from where you stand…. waiting.


The light

dims.

A well opens;

a passage is revealed:

Descending

I walk away from you

consenting to touch the other man,

No more  overlapping,

No more mingling,

nor altering of boundaries between present and past,

between pain and freedom.


I am coming to you my love…..

in a while…

for a while away from you…..


the other wants me too.

 

THROUGH THE VEILS

(To my mother)

Your silence
a shrine,
a hiding place,
a hunting shed
from where you observe your prey
unobserved and unseen,
you
full of heaviness
and unresolved longings.

Laden with a broken past
your silence
still controls
your every move.

What mother,
what person,
what woman
would you have grown up to be
had the intricacies
of your dark tunnels
not held you down?

Your silence,
layer upon layer
of protective veils,
thin,
transparent.

Too many to count.
Too many to draw.

                                       

HANDS


Hands at the end of the arm,

Entrance  and  exit of the flow of life.


Hands as part of the arm,

Appendixes  of  a thousand tools.


Hands as beginning and end

of the heart parallel.


Hands move,

Hands wave

Hands back and front.


Hands hold, hands give, hands  take.

Hands  accept, hands refuse.

Hands open in a warm welcome,

Hands closed with fists full of anger and frustration.

Thumbs up, I am ok and I will live.

Thumbs down and it is now over.


Beautiful hands, long nimble fingers

Delicate, sensitive,

A light touch and

The whole world is felt through them.


The story of a lifetime is stored in each crease

Formed through repetitive work and faithful routine.

How can I give you up?

How can I accept to lose your faithful and powerful companionship?



The heart breaks against the harshness of your destiny,

A rock of judgement against which no recourse seems possible.

Grace, how I cry for grace……and mercy…..

That they may meet the heart in the morning

And melt the hardness away.


A fool, a hard, self-destructive fool I have been,

Hitting when I needed holding,

Shutting out when I needed letting in,

Numbing myself when I needed to feel,

Smiling when tears needed to flow,

Showing the face of strength

when the fear of my own vulnerabilities allowed no space

for the tenderness of soft embracing.


Hands, my hands!

You carry so much of my soul

Within your small, confined belonging.

How can I ever regain your trust and companionship?

And will I ever see you flourish in the energy of my own surrender and love?

                                                    

WHAT IF


Food broken down into carbohydrates,

vitamins and minerals,

proteins and fats.


The soul can’t breathe!


What’s nutritious and what’s not.

What’s outdated and what’s hot!

How we soothe our need to belong!


Yet the soul can’t breathe!


We break down and apart, longing to understand,

relentlessly trying to own the elusive knowledge,

feeding the illusion we are in control, delaying the time

of final confrontation and surrender.


We break down the body, to understand its health.

We break down nature, to understand its secrets.

We break down the mind to understand its functioning

We break down life to understand its patterns and dynamics.

We break down experience to pass it on to others.


Yet wisdom is lost.


We break down, we prod,

we poke, we search,

we question,

we fight to bring to light

what is hidden.


We break down to  break apart  to break open.

We are broken.

We know plenty.

We are empty



Our knowledge is overflowing.


Still our soul can’t breathe……

unless


perhaps……


Mystery.

                                       

 

THE ANXIETY COLLECTOR


I am hungry.....

Fill my dustbins,

people

of no self-containment

Sever yourselves

from your unwanted garbage.

Seal it tight.

I exist 

for no other reasons

but to collect.

Disguise

the putrid remains

of your unclaimed humanity.

Leave them

at the doorsteps

of your weekly regurgitations.


In the night

I'll come.

I'll come

while the blanket of sleep

has you convinced

that it was nothing.

Nothing but a dream.

                                            

                    

PLUCKED

Someone

is sitting

at my piano

playing a tune

I cannot understand

its notes

like scratches

on a glass,

dissonant,

of no value

to my days

yet sweet melody

to my nights.

How does one dance

to such a music?

                                                   

I , WOMAN

I, woman,

so beautiful and lovely,

have searched 

for my reflections

on the glossy surface

of your heart   

and all I see

is an opaque image,

its contours

smudged

and smeared

by your expectations

and

demands of me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

CAN YOU HEAR ME,DAD?


How

do you

mourn

a ghost?

If mourn

I must

I shall mourn

the void,

the bottomless nothing

I can

never

wish to fill.

I will mourn 

the absent gaze.

I will mourn

the exiled witness.

I will mourn 

the silence

of your utterings.

I will mourn

having to mourn

what never was,

NEVER KNOWING

what could have been.

The loss

of you

I never had.

                                     

WHAT IS, IS

I wanted

a love lettter

from you

in words,

in song,

in music

but

nothing 

ever came

because

you were

and

always 

have been

my

love letter.

                                      

GOODNIGHT KISS

From ' Beannacht' by John O'Donohue - Revisited by Paola Ferretti Pontiggia

When at day's end

your shoulder's are heavy

and the clay of your body

calls for night's rest

may sleep find you ready

to accept its embrace.

When the boat of your thoughts

seems to sink

from the weight of its passengers

and the ocean of night

blackens beneath you

may there come

across the waters

of silence

a path of yellow moonlight

to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of earth be yours,

may the clarity of light be yours,

may the fluency of the ocean be yours,

may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow wind

work these words of love

around you,

an invisible cloak

guarding your life

holding you safe.